The lead story in the news is the astounding success (?) of the Cash-for-Clunkers program.
Just in case you've not emerged from under your rock for a week or so, here's how it works. If you surrender your worn-out old gas guzzling car for a more fuel-efficient model, the taxpayers will reward you with up to $4500 to apply to that new fuel sipper. The dinosaur is supposedly rendered never-again-operable with a fatal dose of stuff that gets poured into the engine. And apparently the $4500 reward to the taxpayer is in the form of a more fuel-efficient transportation fleet, and more prosperous new car dealers.
The program burned through $1 billion in a week, and they are currently trying to pick the taxpayers' pockets to the tune of another $2 billion.
Reader Scott asks, how cool would the Cash for Clunkers program be if, instead of $4000 per car, they gave $2000 cash toward a new car and $2000 toward a bike and bike accessories? Or toward alternative transportation, period.
Scott has a great point!
Why should this program only benefit car drivers? Why shouldn't I be able to unload my '66 Chevy pickup truck, and replace it with a sweet new 2-wheeler? Forget going from 10mpg to 30mpg - I'd go from 10mpg to infinite MPG!
A fella named Ed Wagner out of Tulsa, OK, makes another valid point. If you're in the Boise area, you should TOTALLY identify with this:
There's a constant refrain we hear from motorists who can't stand the thought of slowing down in order to pass a bicyclist safely. It appears with monotonous regularity in newspaper comments after nearly any story about cycling. "Bicyclists don't pay their fair share for the roads," they drone. "They don't pay taxes or licensing fees."
Ed explains (to whoever is open to FACTS) where road money comes from, and also points out that bicycle facilities are frequently scrapped because we can't afford 'em. And yet, when it comes to "cash for clunkers,"
... it appears motorists will be getting three billion dollars in subsidies this summer alone.
Let's see if the people who rant about cyclists "not paying their way" mention Cash for Clunkers! (Yeah, right!)
Ed's piece can be read HERE.
A guy named Adam Voiland makes a similar proposal, "Benjamins for Bikes." Sweeet!